I Need a Business Plan – Now What Should I Do?

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How to Communicate Well with a Business Plan Expert when You’re in Need for a Business Plan

Oftentimes potential clients approach us simply saying: “I need a business plan.” Sometimes they give us all the information required for us to consult them appropriately on their need for a business plan, but more often than not they do not give enough information for us to understand why exactly it is that they need their business plan for, what kind of business plan precisely it is that they need and how we can help them with this urgent need for a business plan. In this post, I want to explore ways of giving us hopefully all information we need to be able to save time and reduce the chances of simply not being able to answer properly to the exclamation: “I need a business plan!”

First of all it is important for us to understand what you need the business plan for. Do you need it for funding, do you need it for a general manager visa, do you need it for an academic purpose, do you need it to open a bank account or do you want to talk to business angels and/or equity investors? If you need the business plan for a funding purpose, it is very important for us to know how much funding you’re looking for, because that determines how comprehensive the business plan has to be. Different sources of funding also require a different angle of the business plan. For example when it comes to banks, they are looking more for conservatively written business plans. When it comes to equity investors or crowdfunding, the business plan can be written in a more sensational fashion or geared towards the social or environmental impact.

 

I Need a Business Plan – No, You Don’t Need Just ANY Business Plan

It is also important for us to know what are the main aspects of the company concept you are looking to have your plan written for: Is it trade? Is it a service? What are the geographical locations of the markets that you are targeting? Are you operating as a team or are you founding alone? Do you possibly already have some business plan drafting done? If you already have a part of your written business plan or your financial plan we can sometimes offer you better conditions, if we can piggyback on some of your already completed work.

Also we are interested in the product that you are offering. If we understand the product well, we can already derive a proper business planning documentation and we can imagine what could be the red thread of your potential founder’s success that we have to illustrate in our business plan for you to achieve your business planning objective. If we understand how challenging the business plan for your case might be, only then can we really draw up an adequate offer. This is important because without a proper budget, we might even either have to reduce the comprehensiveness of the business plan or we might ask you for a Delta charge because we want you to succeed with the business planning documentation that we come up with. A flimsy business plan for a difficult objective does not maximize your probability for a positive outcome!

 

The Need For a Business Plan: Better When It’s Not Urgent

Too often clients say: “I need a business plan and I need it within five days because I want to apply for a grant” or “because I have a bank appointment coming up next week”. At any given time we at BrainHive are processing several business plans at once and we always look to have at least 10 to 14 business days to come up with a great business plan for you. If you give us less time than that, we have to shift our capacities and that is in a certain sense a pain for our business organization, for which we have to charge you a premium. The BrainHive express premium currently stands at 30%, so that is a 30% more expensive business plan for you, purely because you did not approach us with enough of a time cushion.

The more time we have, the more thorough we can conduct our research and we can let the draft sit a few nights before we do our final corrections. The quality of any written piece increases with the diligent correction, that is from a certain distance. It is not possible for any author in the world to correct a piece of writing the same day and expect to detect all the errors, the brain just doesn’t let you. Now we at BrainHive Business Planning have a very functional quality assurance system consisting of more than just one pair of eyeballs but still: If there is more room, more time to edit the final piece, it is going to be better. If you rush us in our work, you cannot expect the same level of quality as if you give us the full amount of time to work over your draft, even if you pay us our EXPRESS premium.

 

If You Need a Business Plan, it is Best if You Contribute as Much as Possible

The next batch of advice that I could dispense to someone who is in the need of the business plan would be that you should take your time for a thorough briefing. We at BrainHive use a questionnaire, but we will also take your notes, your dictations, your input during a video conference and any and all relevant material that you can come up with for your specific business model. Depending on the nature of the company that you wish to establish, these additional materials can range from exposés, menus, price lists and catalogs, mockups, presentations and a whole host of other documentation. We would always also need the CV of all core founding team members and in the case of a growth plan for an existing company, we need the balance statements or other documentation of the historic performance of the enterprise.

All this effort is conducted to produce a more accurate and plausible piece of business planning that is more convincing and interesting for a business plan recipient or stakeholder to read. We at BrainHive Business Planning do not like empty templates or wishy-washy superficial business plans. We like to go in-depth because we know that those business plans will yield a better performance and also contain greater inherent usefulness for the founder(s). Your probability of success in a competitive and saturated marketplace is in the eyes of the typical investor or bank frankly speaking in most cases already not that high. You want to try and use every method at your disposal to increase your chances of successfully obtaining finance, taking bureaucratic hurdles or convincing people to join and invest in your venture.

 

I Need a Business Plan so Shouldn’t I Write it Myself?

There is constant chatter in the startup sphere that business plans are either useless or that business plans should be only and always written by the founders themselves. We see those black-and-white judgments very critically not because we make our living writing plans for people but because of the holistic reason why business plans were implemented internationally. They are a communication vehicle transporting a business idea in the most comprehensive way, they are a way of laying out the aspects and factors that compound the business idea fully. If the founder who knows nothing about business planning our business administration goes on to write a business plan him or herself, chances are that that the business plan is not going to impress the business plan recipients. Not all founders are business administration experts, not all founders are able to express themselves in written English with sufficient professional eloquence and precision. Most founders also do not keep enough sobriety and distance to their idea or are able to come up with a good risk analysis or tone of voice in a conservative manner. All these factors are reasons why in many cases it can be wise to employ a business planning expert when you need a business plan.

That said, when people say that they need a business plan, it is usually because they know that they do need help writing the business plan. There are a lot of good free resources out there and there are many books. You will spend a long time preparing yourself for producing your business plan and you will spend a lot of time honing and polishing that business plan, hopefully with the support of the third person if you do not have a business planner at your side. Without the opinion of a third person, it is even more likely that your business plan will be rejected and that helps no one. Understand that the mere need for a business plan already shows that you are in an advanced stage of obtaining funding for your business. In that stage, it is always good to have an expert partner by your side if you are not a business administration expert yourself- many founders aren’t, but rather are experts for example as chefs, designers, merchants, engineers, programmers and so on.

We hope to have clarified that the exclamation “I need a business plan!” needs a certain amount of accompanying information for us to make sense of it and be able to yield the competent consulting you’re looking to benefit from as a founder. We hope that the above explanations are intuitive enough and that the next time you find yourself in the need of the business plan, you will know exactly how to communicate with your business planner of choice!

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